If baseball betting was as heavy as the NFL at the Stratosphere, they might be able to bail out General Motors. Try a hold nearing 20 percent this month.
"There hasn’t been a real difference in the amount of wager, but we have done well," said Ed Malinowski, race and sports manager at the Stratosphere. "Our baseball hold this month has been higher than it’s ever been. The hold has been in double digits all season and June has been better than April and May."
So what is the reason for the bettors taking on the chin at Stratosphere?
"Possibly because the volume has been down about 25 to 30 percent and us not seeing as many runners as in the past," Malinowski said. "I don’t know if it is the economy or the 15-cent line. It could be both. All I know is we are happy with the lines we’ve made and how things are going."
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Malinowski said he has received no complaints from his customers regarding the lines or the 15-cent discrepancy from favorite price and underdog. "MGM has a 20-cent line and they own half the Strip," he said. "So I think we’re very fair with the 15 and nobody has told us otherwise."
Malinowski believes about 30 percent of baseball volume came from wiseguy money in past years, but that he isn’t seeing that this year. "I think a lot our winning is luck, but it’s true that many wiseguys are preferring the 10-cent line they can get offshore. Race and sports betting in this town is now an amenity for the casual bettors. The bargains aren’t here for the professional gamblers."
Just up the road at Jerry’s Nugget the house is also winning, though at a lesser hold percentage. "Baseball has been pretty solid even though it’s a slow time betting," said Mark Dufty, race and sports manager at Jerry’s. "The Dodgers are playing great, but a lot of marquee teams like the Yanks, Mets and Phillies (at home) haven’t been quite as dominant. All that helps the books."
The profit from baseball at Jerry’s hasn’t offset the hit from the NBA playoffs. "They were disappointing to us," Dufty said. "It went all the way from Cleveland sweeping in the early rounds to the fans having a real good feel for the Lakers. We did make some money, but not the rate we were accustomed to."
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Mark Mayer